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Amazon: Nearly 20000 workers tested positive for COVID-19 – CTV News

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NEW YORK —
Amazon said Thursday that nearly 20,000 of its front-line U.S. workers have tested positive or been presumed positive for the virus that causes COVID-19.

But the online retail behemoth, revealing the data for the first time, said that the infection rate of its employees was well below that seen in the general U.S. population. The disclosure comes after months of pressure from Amazon workers and labour groups calling for the company to divulge the COVID-19 numbers.

Amazon said in a corporate blog that it provided the data as part of its effort to keep employees informed, and to share details and best practices with governments and other companies.

“We hope other large companies will also release their detailed learnings and case rates because doing so will help all of us,” Amazon said. “This is not an arena where companies should compete — this is an arena where companies should help one another.”

The Seattle-based company said that it examined data from March 1 to Sept. 19 on 1.37 million workers at Amazon and Whole Foods Market across the U.S.

It said it compared the COVID-19 case rates to the general population, as reported by Johns Hopkins University for the same period. Based on that analysis, if the rate among Amazon and Whole Foods employees were the same as that for the general population, it estimated it would have seen 33,952 cases among its workforce. That is 42% higher that Amazon’s actual rate.

The company also said it is conducting thousands of tests a day, which will grow to 50,000 tests a day across 650 sites by November.

Companies have no legal obligation to publicly reveal how many of their workers have contracted the virus, and few are doing so.

Employers do have to provide a safe working environment, which means they must alert staff if they might have been exposed to the virus, according to guidelines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the federal agency that enforces workplace safety. They are also obligated to keep track of COVID-19 infections contracted on the job, and must report to OSHA if there is a hospitalization or death related to the disease.

A perceived lack of transparency has left workers at various retailers, including Amazon and Walmart, to become amateur sleuths in their spare time. Unions and advocate groups have taken up the cause, too, creating lists or building online maps of stores where workers can self-report cases they know about.

Walmart had said in July that its COVID-19 cases track with the rest of the country, but didn’t explain why it doesn’t provide numbers.

Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which represents grocery and meatpacking workers, called Amazon’s disclosure as “the most damning evidence we have seen that corporate America has completely failed to protect our country’s frontline workers in this pandemic.”

UFCW is calling for immediate action by federal regulators and a full congressional investigation.

“This titanic safety failure demands the highest level of scrutiny,” Perrone said.

AP Retail writers Joseph Pisani and Alexandra Olson contributed to this report.

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Short-video app Quibi shutting down just months after launch – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Tali Arbel, The Associated Press


Published Wednesday, October 21, 2020 8:43PM EDT

Short-video app Quibi said it is shutting down just six months after its early April launch, having struggled to find customers.

The company said Wednesday that it would wind down its operations and plans to sell its assets. “Quibi is not succeeding,” its top executives bluntly declared in a letter posted online.

The video platform – designed for people who were out and about to watch on their phones – was one of a slew of new streaming services started to challenge Netflix over the past few years, most of which were part of much bigger tech and entertainment companies, like Apple and Disney.

Quibi, short for “quick bites,” raised $1.75 billion from investors including Hollywood players Disney, NBCUniversal and Viacom and its leadership were big names: entertainment industry heavyweight Jeffrey Katzenberg and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman.

But the service struggled to reach viewers, despite a 90-day free trial, as short videos abound on the internet and the coronavirus pandemic kept many people at home. Part of the appeal of the service, which started at $5 a month, was supposed to be that you could watch short videos while out, without access to a TV. Being stuck at home made TV more desirable than watching on a phone, and Quibi only later and slowly rolled out TV options. Katzenberg blamed the pandemic for Quibi’s woes.

Katzenberg’s connections helped line up stars to make and star in its videos, including Reese Witherspoon, Steven Spielberg and Jennifer Lopez. There was a short version of “60 Minutes” and reality shows. The shows never achieved big name recognition, although the platform scored some Emmys earlier this year.

Why did it fail? “Likely for one of two reasons: because the idea itself wasn’t strong enough to justify a standalone streaming service or because of our timing,” Katzenberg and Whitman wrote. “Unfortunately, we will never know but we suspect it’s been a combination of the two.”

Quibi doesn’t release subscriber figures. Mobile research firm Sensor Tower estimates 9.6 million installations of Quibi’s mobile app since its launch; that doesn’t mean those are actually users. Other streaming services have benefited from having customers stuck at home during the pandemic. One of the most successful new services, Disney Plus, has more than 60 million subscribers. Netflix has had a blockbuster year.

“While we have enough capital to continue operating for a significant period of time, we made the difficult decision to wind down the business, return cash to our shareholders, and say goodbye to our talented colleagues with grace,” Whitman, the CEO, said in a statement.

The company said that money from the sale of its assets will go toward paying off liabilities and whatever remains will be returned to investors.

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Quibi app to shut down – Entertainment News – Castanet.net

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Movie mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg’s mobile streaming service, Quibi, is shutting down, six months after it launched with original series and films featuring Anna Kendrick and Sophie Turner.

Katzenberg and his partner Meg Whitman are expected to confirm their decision to wind down the short-form video service this week after speaking with investors, according to Deadline.

The service launched in April just after COVID-19 shut down Hollywood.

Initial pay-to-view items on the service included projects directed by heavyweights Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro, and Antoine Fuqua, while Kendrick’s series Dummy and Kiefer Sutherland’s remake of The Fugitive became quick hits. The service also produced the Emmy-winning series #FreeRayshawn.

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Quibi is shutting down just six months after launching – MobileSyrup

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Surprise: Quibi is dead.

Quibi, a short form mobile-focused video streaming service that struggled to find an audience amid a global pandemic where many people are working from home, is shutting down, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Given the platform was available for only six months, this makes it one of the shortest-lived streaming services ever.

Several factors likely played into Quibi’s untimely demise, including that a mobile-focused streaming service doesn’t make sense when people are home, that none of its content was really compelling enough to attract returning subscribers, and the fact that you can watch short-form video content on platforms like YouTube and TikTok entirely for free.

It’s unclear what will happen to Quibi’s lineup of celebrity-filled content. The Information initially reported co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, who is also the former Walt Disney Studios chairman, attempted to sell Quibi’s content to Facebook and NBCUniversal, but ultimately failed.

Quibi launched in Canada on April 6th for $6.99 per month for a subscription tier that featured ads and $9.99 per month to remove ads. The platform forged a partnership with Bell that included exclusive sports and news content from CTV News and TSN. Bell’s Quibi initiatives will likely be cancelled entirely. MobileSyrup has reached out to Bell for more information.

It’s also worth noting the report of Quibi’s shutdown comes just two days after Bell Media president Randy Lennox announced that he’s departing the company. Lennox was reportedly the driving force behind Bell’s investment in Quibi.

Quibi allowed viewers to watch content in both landscape and portrait mode. While the platform was initially off to a strong start, it struggled to keep subscribers around after it’s free trial ended. Some reports indicated that Quibi lost 92 percent of its early users following the end of the platform’s free trial.

The service eventually launched apps for Apple TV, Android TV and Apple TV, moving beyond its mobile-focused Android and iOS apps.

Notable content included Let’s Roll with Tony Greenhand, a show about a man that rolls ornate marijuana spliffs for celebrities, Bad Ideas with Adam Devine, 50 States of Fright, Chrissy’s Court with Chrissy Teigen and several more.

For a complete list of Quibi’s content, follow this link.

It remains unclear when Quibi will remain operational until or what will happen to users that have paid a subscription fee. MobileSyrup has reached out for more information from Quibi.

Update 10/21/2020 6:43pm: Quibi has confirmed that it’s shutting down in a press release. It says that “following the company’s wind down and satisfaction of all liabilities, the remaining funds will be returned to its investors as specified in the company’s operating agreement. ”

“We have assembled a world-class creative and engineering team that has created an original platform fueled by groundbreaking technology and IP, enabling consumers to view premium content in a whole new way. The world has changed dramatically since Quibi launched and our standalone business model is no longer viable. I am deeply grateful to our employees, investors, talent, studio partners and advertisers for their partnership in bringing Quibi to millions of mobile devices,” said Katzenberg in the press release.

Quibi says that it’s working with “legal and financial advisors” to “identify a suitable buyer or buyers for its assets.”

Regarding subscribers, Quibi says that it’s sending out notifications regarding the final date they will be able to access the platform.

Further, Bell says that it’s “in touch with Quibi management and discussing next steps.”

Source: The Wall Street Journal 

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